I made this leopard style up based on what I read on a budo-taijutsu website, because it's going to form one of the pillars of my Solar super-level martial art Five Animal Style when I'm done. In the meantime: rock.
Like the other major animal styles of martial arts, Leopard style has a long and distinguished history. It was originally conceived as an offshoot of Tiger style, an attempt to make such a powerful and brutal martial art more accessible to those with a more intellectual approach to combat, and eventually evolved into a style all of its own.
Weapons and Armor
Leopard style martial arts treats tiger claws as martial arts weapons, and is compatible with their use. You cannot use any of the Leopard style charms while wearing armour.
<b>Cost: 3 motes Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 3 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: None
Deriving as it does from Tiger style, one of Leopard style's most basic techniques is the ability to charge unarmed attacks with essence to make them many times more dangerous.
Any attack enhanced by this charm does lethal damage, and the martial artist's Essence is added to his strength for the purposes of determining damage.
Cautious Prey-Stalking Prana</b>
<b>Cost: 3 motes Duration: Instant Type: Reflexive Min. Martial Arts: 2 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: None
Just as a leopard carefully evaluates its prey before striking, so the Exalted martial artist may learn to read the flows of essence around his target and thus gain some insight into their prowess.
When this charm is activated, the Exalt chooses a single target within (10 x Essence) yards. For every three dots of permanent Essence, or part thereof, the martial artist can choose one fact from the following list to learn about his target:
- His permanent Essence.
- His maximum and current essence pools. The martial artist cannot distinguish between personal and peripheral essence, so add them together.
- His ranks and specialties in any one of the five combat skills. (Archery, Brawl, Martial Arts, Melee, Thrown.)
- His remaining health levels, and how badly wounded he is currently.
- A rough approximation of his deadliness, based on combat skill and the number of special combat powers (i.e. Charms) the target possesses.
Patient Leopard Posture</b>
<b>Cost: 6 motes Duration: Until disturbed Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 3 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: None
Emulating the leopard, the martial artist learns to simply wait for prey to present itself. By remaining unmoving, they learn to bend the essence of their surroundings to deflect casual observation.
While under the effects of this charm, the Exalt can only be seen by careful searchers and/or those keeping an eye out for trouble. Casual observers will fail to see him at all. Even for those who are actively wary, the difficulty to spot the Exalt is raised by his permanent Essence.
If the Exalt moves from the spot where the charm was activated, its magic ends immediately. Likewise if his anima flares to any level which negates stealth charms. In addition, the Exalt is only concealed from sight. He can still be heard, scented, etc.
<b>Cost: 6 motes Duration: Scene Type: Simple Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: Leopard Maul, Cautious Prey-Stalking Prana, Patient Leopard Posture
The martial artist adopts the stance and attitude of a stalking leopard, alternating periods of watchful stillness with sudden vicious strikes.
While using leopard form, the martial artist adds her Essence to her bashing and lethal soak, and also to the base damage of her unarmed or tiger-claw-equipped attacks. Her unarmed martial arts attacks automatically do lethal damage, and she adds her martial arts score to her base initiative. Finally, when calculating how far she can jump she uses Athletics + Martial Arts rather than just Athletics.
Armour Shattering Leopard Fist</b>
<b>Cost: 3 motes Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 3 Prereqs: Leopard Form
One of the greatest obstacles to an unarmed combatant is the distressing tendency of warriors to wear armour. Many martial arts teach pressure point atemi to get around it, but practitioners of leopard style use a more direct approach: armour in pieces on the floor offers no protection.
Attacks enhanced with this charm have their pre-soak damage halved. However, any armour the target is wearing has its lethal and bashing soaks reduced by 1 until it can be properly repaired. Armour reduced to 0/0 soak in this way has been shredded completely, and is probably beyond reasonable reconstruction.
This charm does work on armour of the five magical materials, but cannot reduce them below half of their base soak, and such damage is manifestly temporary and easily repaired.
Swift-Striking Leopard Pounce</b>
<b>Cost: 4 motes Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: Leopard Form
Just as the leopard plummets from the tree in a sudden rush of death, so the leopard style martial artist learns to lunge forward at blinding speed.
An attack enhanced with this charm does additional base damage equal to the martial artist's strength. In addition, he may move up to his full sprinting distance without penalty before he makes the attack.
This charm may also be used as a (rather expensive) way of moving very quickly - each activation allows another sprint move, and the move need not necessarily end in an attack.
- It's been pointed out that you can't use a supplemental charm in this last way without an attack to supplement. I'm not sure quite how to phrase things the way I want them, so I'm leaving it like this for now. - F
Leopard's Mauling Frenzy</b>
<b>Cost: 3 motes per attack Duration: Instant Type: Extra Action Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 4 Prereqs: Swift-Striking Leopard Pounce
Although leopard style warriors prefer to avoid the normal savagery of tiger style, there are undoubtedly times when it can be useful. So, they learn a controlled frenzy which can be used to quickly destroy most opponents.
When this charm is activated, the Exalt makes a single martial arts attack at his full dice pool. If it hits (regardless of damage), he may immediately make another attack. He may make as many attacks in this fashion as he has dots of permanent Essence. All of these attacks automatically do lethal damage.
Quick-Slaying Predator Strike</b>
<b>Cost: 2 motes/die Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 4 Min. Essence: 2 Prereqs: Leopard Form
Somewhat eschewing the savage attacking frenzy of tiger style, leopard style martial artists prefer to make each attack count. Like the animals they emulate, they believe in bringing about death with a single, sudden strike.
This charm lets the user add dice to a normal martial arts attack roll, to the usual maximum. It also allows him to move a number of yards equal to double his martial arts score before making the attack, although this must be towards his intended target.
Cunning Feline Wisdom Epiphany</b>
<b>Cost: 1 Willpower + 4 motes/target Duration: Scene Type: Reflexive Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 3 Prereqs: Leopard Form
Advancing the techniques first taught to novices of leopard style, the advanced martial artist learns to rapidly assimilate subtle clues about battle styles and use the knowledge they gain from observing their opponent to their benefit in combat.
When this charm is activated, the Exalt chooses any number of targets within (Essence x 10) yards. For the rest of the scene, his cunning understanding of his opponents' battle style gives him his Essence in bonus dice on all combat-related rolls against those targets. Each activation of this charm can only target a specific opponent once, but if you use the charm again you can get more dice, bearing in mind the usual dice-adder cap.
Example: Choyo-Sen, ancient Sidereal kung fu master (Essence 7) is fighting three interfering mooks named Joe, Moe and Curly. With one activation of this charm he can get +7 dice against one, two, or three of them (costing 1 WP and 4, 8 or 12 motes). He does so, and a few turns later it becomes apparent that Curly is another ancient Sidereal kung fu master. Choyo-Sen uses CWFE again, against Curly only (costing 1 WP and 4 motes). His bonuses are now +7 dice vs Joe and Moe, and +14 dice (to a maximum of his normal dice adder cap) vs Curly.
Strike Of Denial</b>
<b>Cost: 2 motes Duration: Instant Type: Supplemental Min. Martial Arts: 5 Min. Essence: 4 Prereqs: Quick-Slaying Predator Strike, Cunning Feline Wisdom Epiphany
Most leopards do not have to contend with magically active prey. However, the hunting principles of the big cats can be applied to combat with Exalts and gods as well, and so they are.
If an attack enhanced with this charm hits an opponent - regardless of whether it does any damage - the cost of all charms that that opponent uses is raised by 1 mote. This penalty is cumulative, to a maximum of the martial artist's Essence + Martial Arts. The target will be unaware of the change until they seek to use magic, at which point it will become obvious that something is impeding their power.
The penalty 'bleeds off' at the rate of 1 mote per hour, and can be cured sooner through the use of healing magic as if each point of penalty was a level of bashing damage.
Excellent tree. Has a lot of advantages in its synergies, and the powerful Charms have enough drawbacks to make them workable-- although Cunning Feline Wisdom Epiphany could stand to have a cost that scales with its bonus. 1 mote/die, perhaps? Cheap, compared to Blade of the Battle Maiden, but not too powerful since it requires time to bring up. Armor-Shattering Leopard Fist is also too weak, either drop the cost or increase the effects.
Also, your style's pinnacle Charm should require all the lesser techniques. -TheMyriadOfShades
I'd suggest Leopard Maul simply add Essence to damage unless there's a pertinent reason to have it apply as Strength (knockdowns?).
I don't like Cautious Prey-Stalking Prana for a couple of reasons. It requires Essence 6(!!) to give information on combat skills and health levels - things that a mortal could learn after a turn of observation. Perhaps it should just grant a broad scale of vaguer knowledge? ("His Essence is as strong as yours, but he doesn't command as much energy. He's worse than you in a close-up fight but has the stance of a very competent archer, despite his wounds - they appear to be less severe than they would look to the untrained eye").
- Hum. I think I'll leave it for now, since as it's a Reflexive charm you can just use it multiple times to learn multiple things about your opponent. It's just that having high Essence means you don't have to turn it on as many times to get the same info. The idea behind it is that it gives more precise information than a normal martial artist could discern, thus letting you make more educated decisions regarding your fight (or not) with the target. - F
The 'stealth' option seen in Patient Leopard Posture doesn't seem to *go* anywhere... they have one trick to observe unseen, which only comes in really handy if you've got a Charm higher up in the tree, or the stealth-attack Charm from Tiger Style.
The Form seems alright, though markedly inferior to Tiger Form. It offers less damage, the same soak, a marginal increase in jumping distance, and a slight bonus in initiative.It also has more prerequisite Charms. Mind you, I almost always feel as if Tiger Form is too good (Myriad: You aren't allowed to apply this against me. ^_^;) so perhaps this is more appropriate.
Armor Shattering Leopard Fist does feel a little weak.
Swift-Striking - 'double user's Strength for purpose of attack damage'? Also, if it's supplemental I don't think you can use it without an attack to supplement. Maybe reflexive? I dunno how to phrase it.
Quick-Slaying Predator Strike - straight die-adders are somewhat rare in MA, and I feel this should be preserved. The movement mechanic is somewhat pointless - it applies only in those rare situations wherein an opponent is just barely outside of move range. I don't think it'll help against a hopping defense - those tend to leap farther.
Cunning Prey was one of those mental speedbumps, again - it seems out of place in a style so focused on rapid offense. I understand the leopard imagery, but I think you'd be better served by a reflexive die-adder that applies to a single opponent (ex., 'activate Charm, select target, get +Ess to all dice pools against target for rest of scene) - something that comes into play faster and doesn't require so many turns of doing nothing while a combat rages.
Strike of Denial's effects did less than wow me. A marginal increase in Essence costs, with full efficacy hinging on striking the foe multiple times? Furthermore, the duration of Special means you're commiting 2 motes for every 1-mote increase you apply, which is a fancy way of saying, you're losing. You could change that to instant, I guess. Charm also deals with processes that, again, move away from the 'brute predation' of the other Charms - it just doesn't feel like the pinnacle of the style. ~ BerserkSeraph
Not bad. Mostly I agree with BerserkSeraph. For the Form charm, I'd add Martial Arts to athletics for determining jumping. This actually does most of the stuff athletics does, so you might as well get a reasonable bonus for taking both. For Patient Leapord Posture:Perhaps give a minor bonus when breaking it to attack. +Essence damage, or maybe double leaping distance. Armor Shattering Leapord fist is pretty good, as your allies get the advantage also. Swift Striking Leapord Pounce is also pretty neat. Double strength is actually quite good, as quite a few effects add strength(even for non-lunars). I'd make the cost 3 and add MA to damage. As for it being supplemental, I'd allow it to supplement a movement also. Yeah, Strike of Denial seems weird. I think you were going for something interesting, and this is a good try. Making it Instant basicly gives a great attack vs enemies with high soak, but moderate defences. -FlowsLikeBits
- Okay, I'll bear all that in mind. This last lot of suggestions is pretty much what I was thinking of after reading BS's comments. I might drop Armour Sbattering Leopard Fist's cost by a mote or two, although I am kind of wary of making it too easy to split your dice pool a million ways both with that and Strike of Denial. Since the attacks don't need to do damage to have their special effects, it's less important to keep a huge dice pool when attacking.
- I wanted this tree to be like yet unlike tiger form, which is why it doesn't go all out for raw power. Rapid pouncing offence was suggested by the leopard, but the other semi-random stuff I took from what little I know of real world leopard style kung fu - assessment of enemies, powerful crippling attacks, and ki blocking. I'll probably switch SoD to Instant duration, and I'll think about the rest. But right now I need to sleep. - Falcon
Changes Made (in no particular order)
1. ASLF down 1 mote to 3 motes.
2. Changed SoD to Instant.
3. Now the form lets you bounce even further.
4. Changed Quick-Slaying Predator Strike to cost 2 motes/die, making it markedly less efficient than other dice adders. Also increased the movement aspect.
5. Completely reworked Cunning Feline Wisdom Epiphany.
I'm leaving Patient Leopard for the time being, because I'm not sure what to do with it. I think its utility largely comes from being a stealth charm outside of the Stealth tree.